Former Attorney General Eric Holder highlighted his plans to focus on redistricting reform in the post Obama-era, with remarks Thursday marking the the launch of the political group he will lead.
“Gerrymandering has always been part of the political process, but what we are seeing is gerrymandering on steroids and I think that’s the thing that we are in the process of trying to combat,” he said Thursday during a Q&A at the left-leaning think tank, Center for American Progress.
His group, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, will funnel progressive resources into strategic state and local races that will play a role when legislative maps are redrawn after the 2020 census. President Obama will also be involved in the effort after he leaves the White House.
Though Democrats won the popular vote in the last three presidential elections, the party’s imprint on state and national legislatures has shrunk drastically in the Obama-era. Those gains were made in part due to the redistricting undertaken after the 2010 census by the GOP, which controlled the U.S. House of Representatives and many state governments.
“We lost track of our roots and we didn’t keep our eyes on the prize,” Holder said. “We focused on presidential elections every four years and presidential elections are obviously very important, but we lost the sight of the fact that if you want to have a representation in Congress, you have to make sure you have state legislatures that are drawing districts that will yield a representative in Congress.”
Part of the effort involves raising money for down-ballot races, and the group is already taking donations through its recently-launched website. It will hold its first major fundraiser in Chicago this spring, according to the New York Times. Holder said Thursday that there will be a heavy emphasis on travel for the group, as he will be encouraging people to get involved in state and local elections.
“You’ve got to keep your eyes on the little things. … They may not be as sexy as going to big presidential rallies, but they’re just as important,” Holder said. “That’s one of things we are going to be doing with the NRDC, as well, to make redistricting a sexy thing.”